Magazine preseason picks not high on Bulls
For all the offseason excitement surrounding USF's hiring of Willie Taggart, the Bulls are making a modest showing as the first round of preseason college football magazines are hitting newsstands this week.
-- The Sporting News, for instance, picks USF seventh out of the 10 teams in the new American Athletic Conference, two spots behind rival Central Florida, with the Bulls projected to not play in a bowl game for the third year in a row. Tight end Sean Price is the only USF player named to TSN's preseason all-conference team for the American, though Aaron Lynch is honored as its "best pass rusher."
The magazine doesn't think highly of the American -- its offering for "descending" in the conference is ... the conference. "Well, everything," they write. "It would be silly to peg a program that's headed in the wrong direction when an entire, newfangled league is dangling by a thread."
-- Phil Steele offers his all-conference picks for the American -- as always, he goes four deep, which is a little easier in a 10-team league than in past years with eight in the Big East. USF is still pretty quiet -- defensive ends Lynch and Ryne Giddins are the only USF first-teamers.
Four key players make his second team all-conference -- receiver Andre Davis, Price, linebacker DeDe Lattimore and safety Mark Joyce. It's worth noting that Lattimore and Joyce are the only linebackers or defensive backs to make the top four teams. Defensive tackle Luke Sager makes the third team, and the fourth team has defensive tackle Todd Chandler, offensive tackle Quinterrius Eatmon and running back Marcus Shaw.
-- The Orlando Sentinel's countdown of all 125 college football teams is already at USF ... at No. 90 nationally. That translates (also) to seventh in the American, with Temple (91), UConn (95), Memphis (105) all ranked lower. FAU is also lower, so it's essentially calling for a 4-8 season ... The Sentinel had USF 47th in the preseason last year coming off a 1-6 Big East season in 2011, so it's an impressive drop in terms of their expectations.
-- The good news? Lindy's has USF atop its 2013 American standings. Well, that's actually not a projection and just really a list of teams with matching 0-0 records, and USF is somehow first in its non-alphabetical listing.
-- Athlon, meanwhile, is rolling out its early look at the American in men's basketball, with USF showing up last out of 10 teams. My own research: While that certainly seems low, USF will have to show significant improvement to finish in the top half of the American -- Louisville, Memphis, Temple, UConn and Cincinnati all had at least nine wins vs. RPI top 100 teams last season; by comparison, USF, UCF, Rutgers, Houston and SMU went a combined 8-47 vs. top-100 opponents.